How Long Do Above-Ground Pools Last?

how long do above ground pools last

Even though an above-ground pool is not as expensive nor as much of a commitment as an in-ground pool, it is still a semi-permanent fixture in your backyard and relatively expensive to boot, so it is not a decision to take lightly.

For these reasons and more, many potential pool owners are wondering: how long do above ground pools last? What are some of the factors that affect their longevity? How can you help them last a long time?

An above-ground pool should last anywhere from 7 to 15 years on average. Its lifespan can be much longer or shorter than that, and the wide variance depends on factors like how well you are keeping up with maintenance, the climate you live in, how and where the pool was installed, as well as the quality and type of pool you purchased.

In this article, I will be answering the above questions in greater detail to help you decide if an above-ground pool is worth it.

Average above-ground pool life expectancy

It is very difficult to predict exactly how long your above-ground pool will last because there are so many factors that can either keep it running smoothly or have it collapse within a couple of years.

As such, the best I can do is give you a range: 7 to 15 years. This is assuming you are keeping up with pool maintenance and following the instructions on the manual to a T.

When you buy from quality brands such as Intex or Bestway, you can expect their pools to last in the upper range of this estimate. But even the best quality above-ground pool won’t last long if you just leave it to rust in your yard.

Typically, a steel above-ground pool (the most affordable and common option) that you can purchase from any big box retail store can achieve these numbers. However, keep in mind that the vinyl liner will likely only last 5-8 years before it needs to be replaced.

Furthermore, other pieces of pool equipment such as the ladder, pump, and filter may break before the pool frame does as well. So expect to replace these at some point, and don’t scrap your entire pool just because one thing is broken.

If you purchase a quality pool and take exceptional care of your pool, then perhaps you can keep the pool going for as long as 30-40 years, or basically a lifetime.

Factors that can decrease your pool’s longevity

What are the top factors that can increase or decrease your pool’s lifespan? They are:

  • Whether you have installed the pool properly and are using it within specifications.
  • The quality of the materials your pool is made from.
  • The climate you live in and any weathering prevention you have.
  • How consistently you keep up with pool maintenance.

Let’s discuss each point in more detail.

Improper installation and use

Whether your pool is installed properly and used as intended (or not) will drastically affect how long it lasts.

For instance, you could make a mistake when installing the clamps and frame. You might not install the liner properly, causing it to have wrinkles and divots.

There’s also the matter of where you are installing it on. Ideally, you install your pool on a stable, flat surface such as concrete.

If you are installing it on soil, you will need to prepare the ground first by removing any rocks or debris and leveling it so it’s flat. Installing your pool on uneven ground is a common mistake beginners make that could lead to a collapse later on.

Some people are foolish enough to assemble their above-ground pool in the ground as a sort of budget in-ground pool. This is highly dangerous and not recommended.

Even after the pool is installed, is it being used properly? If you have young children, let them know that they are not supposed to sit on the pool walls. When entering the pool, always use the ladder and don’t try to climb over the walls.

This is not an exhaustive list but is meant to give you an idea of what to consider. If you read the instructions on the pool manual, they will go in more detail.

If you are afraid that you will mess up the pool installation, consider hiring professionals to do it for you. It’s a huge hassle if you mess up the installation and need to tear it all down and redo it.

Pool type and material quality

When shopping for an above-ground pool, I recommend you stick with trusted brands like Intex or Bestway. If you buy from an unknown brand, then you are taking a huge gamble with regards to pool quality.

There is also the consideration of which type of pool you are buying. It’s not immediately obvious what the differences are in life expectancy between steel, hybrid, and resin pools. Pool companies seem to market all three equally, so which one lasts the longest?

To be clear, there are many more pros and cons between these materials other than life expectancy, so keep them in mind.

  • Steel: Steel pools are the cheapest and longest lasting option, but they ironically don’t play well with water. If constantly wet, it will rust or erode over time. If you notice any rust, make sure to deal with it ASAP or else it can lead to larger problems down the road.
  • Resin: Resin pools are the most expensive pool type you can buy. They are a higher end frame made of hard plastic that are resistant to corrosion, denting, and warping. They can be left outside during the winter. However, its lifespan is only a short 5-10 years.
  • Hybrid: As the name suggests, hybrid pools are a mix of steel and resin frames, combining the best of both worlds. Steel is only used for the structure of the pool, and resin is used for the parts that will be exposed to sunlight, heat, and water. You get the strength of steel and resistance of resin all in one pool.

The climate

Weather is a major factor in your pool’s longevity. You have less to worry about if you live in a warm, sunny environment.

You will have major issues if you live in a wet and cold environment. If there are storms every other week, heavy snowfall in the winter, and heavy winds, then your pool will take a beating just by being outside.

If you live in an unfavorable environment for your pool, you need to prepare a snow cover, weatherproofing, and a way to close your pool quickly.

Keep an eye on the weather so that you can prepare for it in advance, rather than reacting to it. Be ready to jump into action to protect your pool if bad weather approaches.

Pool maintenance

If you want your above-ground pool to last for decades instead of only one or two summers, you need to do your part in taking care of the pool. Even the most expensive, highest-quality pool cannot last long without human intervention.

An above-ground is not much different from an in-ground pool in terms of maintenance. You still have to do all of the following:

  • Balance the chemicals.
  • Perform routine cleaning.
  • Cover the pool up when not in use to keep debris out, reduce evaporation, and even keep the pool warm..
  • Do a routine inspection and fix any issues as they arise (e.g. rust or algae).
  • Refill the water occasionally.
  • Check for sharp objects.
  • Replace the vinyl pool liner every 5-8 years.
  • Disassemble in the winter if you aren’t winterizing it.

So on and so forth. Most of these things are common sense, and any responsible pool owner will spring to action as soon as they notice their pool is dirty or in danger.

By following these simple tips, you can make your pool last significantly longer than someone who is lackadaisical about pool maintenance. You will be able to get your money’s worth and make your pool last for decades without needing to shell out for a new one.

Photo Credit: perervinko, CC BY 3.0